Our visit to Berlin was a short one, but it took no time at all for us to be fully fascinated by the “open air” nature of a city steeped in struggle, tragedy, intrigue, and terror.
We wondered if this unique (maybe not so unique) combination of qualities could be found anywhere else in Germany or Central Europe for that matter. As if involved in its own psychoanalysis, Berlin bared its pockets of grit and discomfort alongside its boisterous Christmas markets, and we were never sure how to navigate this tension except to embrace its differences and its weirdness through photography and tracing every line with our hands.
Looking back on these photographs, perhaps we were influenced by Berlin more than we could have known at the time. We were able to fly through a number of different sites and sights—Checkpoint Charlie, East Side Gallery, Berliner Dom, Museum Island, Topography of Terror, the Helmut Newton exhibition at the Museum für Photographie, among others—but there was always this nagging feeling there wasn’t enough time to see, know, examine, smell, taste, and un-know it all. Isn’t this always the case, even if you’ve lived somewhere all your life? (ahem, Vancouver)
It was snowing and we felt it in our hair. We downed glühwein and copious amounts of mushrooms drenched in hollandaise sauce whilst watching the carousel horses fall and rise. The older Germans swaying near us knew every lyric to every 90s song and they seemed to be relishing this moment as if that night when their singing would be lost over the din of the market clamouring its way to sleep, this would be the last of the bratwurst and the fire pits and the promise of it all happening again tomorrow.
Berlin, we’ll see you again soon.
Written by Amy
All photographs by Tomasz Wagner on the Fuji XE1, Contax G2, and Fuji GW690II